There are plenty of routes you can take to improve your game. But there is still one avenue we've left largely unexplored at club level

Golf has arguably never been easier. If it’s not a new piece of equipment, it’s the introduction of another coaching programme for players to pursue. On an almost daily basis, the excuses available post-round are evaporating. However, there’s one tool I think golfers still aren’t making the most of.

It’s something that Rory McIlroy has discussed at length on several occasions, and the emphasis he places on tracking his golf stats was a talking point ahead of the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I use them a lot,” he explained. “It’s one thing I keep harping on about to the Tour that we should have ShotLink data on every round we play. The North Course at Torrey Pines doesn’t have it, the other three courses at Pebble when we play there don’t have it.”

So what are the benefits of golf stats?

“It’s course management, but it’s also how you practice,” McIlroy said. “I got a stats report last week after the three weeks I’ve had at Torrey Pines, Riviera, and Mexico, and that’s what I base my practise off going into the next few weeks.

“My bunker play wasn’t up to the standards it needed to be. I needed to get better from 6-12 feet. It’s stuff you sort of know, but it’s nice when you have that objective data in front of you. So I use it for a lot of different things – it’s very important.”

As McIlroy says, monitoring your golf stats is a great way of highlighting the parts of your game that perhaps require the most attention – no more wasted trips to the range to smash drivers for the sake of it – but what stood out to me the most from his response was the use of the word ‘objective’.

Anyone who has ever picked up a club will know how infuriating a game it can be. One day it’s easy, the next it’s as if you’re a total novice, and these emotional ups and downs are a serious inhibitor of performance.

But by taking a more analytical view of your game, believe it or not, it should free you up to play better golf. For example, if you knew that from the fairway the pros miss the green from 100 yards almost 1 in 5 times, you probably wouldn’t be so hard on yourself.

Can us club golfers keep stats?

Now of course we amateurs don’t have access to ShotLink, but there are several tools out there that do a similar job. If you’re prepared to spend a little time inputting your numbers, Golf Data Lab will provide you with the same information that the likes of McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau use as performance indicators, or if you want to get really nerdy, ‘Every Shot Counts’ by Mark Broadie is a book I’d recommend.

There will always be some level of frustration attached with playing golf – nobody is immune – but by tracking your stats and analysing your play in a more objective, and less emotional way, you’ll be able to use your practise time efficiently and ease the strain of competing at all levels.

Could you benefit from tracking your golf stats? Let me know in the comments or send me a tweet

Andrew Wright

NCG's instruction editor. Terrible student so trying my hand at passing on some of the best advice I've never listened to. Member of Royal Troon. Favourite golfer is two-time major winner and hall of famer, Retief Goosen.

Handicap: 2

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